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Super Bowl vs. F1: ‘Like night and day’ for some small businesses near Strip

Updated February 19, 2024 - 7:43 pm

Several Strip-area businesses continue to pressure Formula One Grand Prix officials to address revenue losses that stem from months of race-related roadwork, especially after the Super Bowl weekend brought a bigger windfall.

The business owners said they were in continuing negotiations with Formula One officials for a settlement that could address lost revenue and are hoping for a resolution by midweek. If not, several have suggested a civil lawsuit.

Wade Bohn said the two citywide events were “like night and day” for his business, Jay’s Market and the Shell gas station at Koval Lane and Flamingo Road. Bohn previously estimated that he was down $4 million in revenue because the station’s ingress and egress were limited during the motorsport event’s months of roadwork.

During the road construction months beginning in April, the Shell was pumping less than 1,000 gallons daily, he said. But since the temporary bridge above Koval Lane, built to help traffic flows during the Grand Prix, came down in late January, the fuel business has improved, going up to 3,000 gallons daily during the NFL championship game event. Bohn said he has rehired one of the seven people he laid off in the fall and may hire more.

“The people, the interaction with the NFL and the city, the amount of people that came into town that we were able to tap into just by being open to traffic where there was no hindrance to get into my property — it made all the difference in the world,” he said.

Gino Ferraro, owner of Ferraro’s Ristorante on Paradise Road near Harmon Lane, said his business — typically catering to conventioneers and other tourists for dinner — saw customers return to the area around the National Finals Rodeo in December. Ferraro said late January and early February was the best his business had done “in a long time.” The restaurant generated about 52 percent more in sales in the two weeks before the Super Bowl compared to the two weeks before the Formula One race, sales records he provided show.

One difference he noted was the flow of guests in the resort corridor. During race days, hotel guests and ticket holders were limited to staying within the track. But because the Super Bowl and its associated 300 events were all around the city, visitors were able to move more freely.

“We had many, many personnel from the teams — assistant coaches and their families — come into the restaurant,” Ferraro said. “We didn’t see that from Formula One because they came for the weekend, it wasn’t the long haul.”

Randy Markin, owner of Stage Door Casino and Battista’s Hole in the Wall at Flamingo Road and Linq Lane, said business revenue was in line with what they’d expect from a citywide event. He said he believed the difference could be attributed to the NFL’s community integration. The league coordinated with Markin and the Anheuser-Busch team to bring the Budweiser Clydesdale horses outside the casino and restaurant before the Super Bowl game on Sunday.

“They came in with the idea of being part of the community, rather than coming in and making as much money as you can off the community and hitting the road,” Markin said. “That was the difference.”

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

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